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Fireworks Accidents Kill 2 in U.S.

July 5, 2000

A New York man was killed by a Fourth of July fireworks shell that nearly decapitated him when he peered into the mouth of a launch tube to try to figure out why the device didn’t go off.

And an Iowa teen-ager was killed and five others were injured when fireworks thrown from the sports utility vehicle she was in blew back into the car, causing a fire and a crash.

Keith Seymour, 34, had lit the fuse of the aerial bomb as part of the unlicensed neighborhood display on Long Island, Suffolk County police said. When it failed to go off, he looked inside the 5-inch mortar tube. The blast tore off part of his head, officers said.

In Des Moines, a sport utility vehicle caught fire and crashed into a pole as some of its occupants were throwing firecrackers out the windows, police said. One of the firecrackers had apparently blown back into the vehicle, igniting other fireworks.

A witness told police that all the windows were blown out and the interior of the car was immediately engulfed in flames, police said.

``These kids had very little chance to get out of the car, certainly not in one piece,″ Sgt. Bruce Elrod said.

The girl died at the scene late Tuesday. Four people were in critical condition Wednesday.

Elsewhere, a mortar tube fell over during a fireworks display at Woodville, Ohio, firing projectiles into a crowd of about 2,000. Eleven people were injured.

Woodville Mayor Jan Busdeker said he saw three of the projectiles skim across the ground and into the crowd. Two of the injured were treated for burns at a hospital; the others were treated at the scene.

Two fireworks crew members suffered cuts and bruises at Chandler, Ariz., when a pyrotechnic charge exploded in a holding rack.

And in Craig, Colo., a fireworks mortar shell exploded after the fireworks display had finished. Six firefighters went to a hospital for hearing tests.

``It was a 10-inch tube with a 10-inch dud in it and guys were just standing around when it went off,″ Fire Chief Roy Mason said.

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